A Man With 2 Families – Joseph Martin DENTON

Joseph Martin DENTON had two families.   Why?  Reading on reveals that Joseph was familiar with death in his life, having lost 4  family members along the way.  The photo below shows his family around the year 1895.

He was 19 years old when he married Mary Jane TINSLEY, age 21 on the 11th of November 1882 in Bradley County Tennessee.  Although little documentation on birth or death records has been found, a family history from Ancestry.com indicates that Joseph and Mary had 3 children:

  1. Dorie Olive, born in 1883 a year after their marriage
  2. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Mae, born in 1885
  3. James Samel, born in 1888

Mary Jane died in 1888. The next month in September, baby James died when 7 months old.  Joseph had two little girls remaining.  The cause of death of his first wife and baby is not yet known.

Family #2 began when Joseph married Martha Elizabeth STEPHENS, age 18 on the 1st of Oct 1889.  Martha was known by the nickname “Mattie”.

From Left to Right:  'Mattie' Elizabeth STEPHENS, Lizzie DENTON, Florence Estell DENTON, Myrtle Faye DENTON, Joseph Martin DENTON.  Circa1895

From Left to Right: ‘Mattie’ Elizabeth STEPHENS, Lizzie DENTON, Florence Estell DENTON, Myrtle Faye DENTON, Joseph Martin DENTON. Circa1895

Together they had 7 children for a total of 10 for Joseph DENTON.  The following chronology reveals a depth of experience for Joseph:

  • 1890 – Myrtle Faye is born and grows up to marry James Elmer HOPKINS and is mother to Charles Eugene HOPKINS.
  • 1893 – Florence Estell is born but dies as a child.
  • 1894 – Dorie Olive, Joseph’s oldest daughter from his 1st marriage dies at age 11.
  • 1895 – Effie Cecil is born.
  • 1898 – a son, Ernest W. is born.  He is known as ‘Pete’ in his adult life and marries Selmer.
  • 1904 – Gladys Letitia is born.
  • 1907 – Lucy Ellen is born.
  • 1910 – Homer Luther is born and marries Katie Nell.   Joseph is 47 years old when this last child is born.
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